Showing posts from March, 2010

The Trail

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson

For more pics, hop on over to Wordless Wednesday.

Dark Shadows

"Grandma, your house is so old and creepy. Do evil spirits live here?"

Jenny tried to sound nonchalant, but her voice trembled. Her younger brother, Will, was quick to join in.

"I don't want to sleep overnight, Grandma. I'm scared."

"This is an old house and sometimes it makes a lot of strange sounds. But nothing evil has ever happened here, children. Grampa and I had a lot of fun here over the years though. Did you ever eat popcorn made in a fireplace?"

"Can we Grandma?"

Grandma breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Their parents were out of town, so going home was not an option. Turn on some cartoons, feed them some popcorn and distract those vivid imaginations. Soon they'd be relaxed and ready for bed.

"Grandma! Something is crawling up the wall."

"That's just a shadow, Will. See the plant that's hanging over there? It's casting it's shadow on the wall. Watch, we can make shadows too."


Grandma Tidbits #4

How do you feel about couples that share an email address?
I really hadn't thought about it before. I can't imagine saying anything that both halves of a couple couldn't read. Or that they would share an address if it were an issue.

How open about your life are you in the various online arenas?
I'm fairly open about my life. I talk about my health, my family and my passions. I'm pretty closed about my identity. I reveal that I'm a female senior citizen from the Memphis area, but not much more. Grandma may be a bit senile, but she ain't crazy. Click here for my real name, home address and social security number.  What?  You say that link's not working?

On average, how many hours a week do you spend online? Do you think it's too much?
That's rather like asking how much time I spend eating dairy products. I could estimate the time I spend eating, but I don't break it down into food groups. I spend at least 10 hours a day on the computer a…

Convictions - Installment #11

New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index.
Quick Story: In a Nutshell
Two young lovers sat under a blossoming apple tree, oblivious to approaching doom. Suddenly the space aliens descended in a cloud of purple smoke. When the cloud lifted, only a small withered tree remained.

Skyla and Beth giggled nervously from their front row seats as the aliens moved on towards an unsuspecting city. Rick and his buddy, Jeff, assumed brave faces, although they had been as startled as the girls.

“Let's go get some more candy, Jeff.”

“Just trying to get away from the aliens”, Skyla whispered to Beth as the boys headed off. “We're lots braver than they are.”

Beth nodded, but kept her eyes on the screen.

“Beth. Look. Harry's over there. I think he's looking at me. Do you think he is?”

“Probably, Skyla.”

“Beth, what is wrong with you? He is so good looking. You'd rather watch the movie than look at Harry?”

Beth grinned.

“Yup. But I can tell that you wouldn't.”

Skyla got the messag…

Name That Character

Already my readers are helping to shape Convictions.

I thought I had planted enough information in earlier chapters to clarify the characters in last week's story. Evidently not. So I'm making some changes to this week's installment.

Changes take time, so I won't be able to post the installment today. It will be posted early tomorrow. Hopefully, with enough information to identify the characters. Please come back to check it out. And as always, I am most grateful for your feedback.

On A Clear Day

Medicine has it's wonders and I guess that pharmaceuticals are one of them. But sometimes I question it. If the diuretics are reduced, my legs double in size and I can barely draw a breath. Increase them and I'm too dizzy to stand for more than a few minutes. There's more of these wonder drugs, but let's skip the details. Suffice to say that it's a rare day when everything equalizes and I have both the oxygen and the stability to do more than sit.

Today wasn't 100%, but it was close enough for me. How to spend it? Like a kid at the candy store, I checked out my options. Grab the canes and head outside to enjoy some sun. Get Calico to take me out to lunch or for a ride around the town. Stay inside and tackle a project.

Today, the project won. My bedroom hasn't felt truly organized since we've moved in. Being the largest bedroom, it's become the designated dropping spot for items that haven't found a home. So I started weeding, di…

Totally Obsessed

Yesterday I wrote about my obsession with virtual pets. It's not my first obsession, of course. Here's 13 more.
Reading. "Put down that book and go outside to play." was my mother's mantra from the time I was 7 years old. I learned how to sneak a book out of the house and read it while sitting on a swing or perched on a tree branch.
Baking. Probably fueled by my love of sweets. In fourth grade, I won my first blue ribbon at the local fair.
Cryptograms. As a kid, I loved secret codes and was always devising a new one. When our newspaper started presenting a daily cryptogram, I was hooked. Now I have cryptogram software on my computer.Algebra. Yes, you heard correctly. I was addicted from the first day of class. "If a train leaves Station A traveling at 60mph..." Each solution was a logical triumph, rivaling any runner crossing the finish line. I still use algebra to solve everyday problems.
Needlework. I enjoyed sewing, knitting, crewel and cr…

Virtually Obsessed

My goulash contains a large portion of virtual pet obsession. If you love cute little critters, beware of Superpoke Pets. It is so addictive. I keep repeating "They aren't real. They aren't real." Then I race out to make sure that all my pets have been properly cared for, have plenty of friends and possess all the latest items from the Pet Shop.

Pets have gardens too. They can keep the items they grow or recycle them for coins. Then, of course, the coins are used to buy more goodies at the Pet Shop. I'll admit this loses something in the translation. Only those who have experienced this virtual mania can truly understand.

Today, some of my favorite seeds were discontinued at the Pet Shop. What should I do? To answer the question, I created a spreadsheet of crops and their potential recycle values. I'm even including a link here for my SPP addicted friends.
SPP Crop Values

Yes, I can see a bunch of you shaking your heads in disbelief. But Grandm…

Lost In Space

Where could it be? Not behind the daybed nor in the storage area beneath. Not anywhere on the high bookshelves. Two small kitchen cabinets yield nothing but dishes. The tiny studio's single closet is the only remaining possibility. Trembling with apprehension, she approaches the narrow door. Tentatively, she touches the door handle, then quickly pulls back. She has heard stories. And she believes them. Struggling to control her terror, she approaches again and flings it open.

How silly! There's nothing to fear here. Just floor to ceiling shelves, filled with the accumulation of ten years. The search might take a bit, but nothing to fear at all. Be methodical. Start at the bottom and work up. Begin with that large box. Stuck. Try again. Ah, here it comes.

Avalanche. Tottering shelves hurl their contents. A large brass trophy jettisons from the pinnacle towards her head.

Blackness. Endless blackness. It's what they'd predicted, but it's not f…

Grandma Tidbits #3

What do you value most in other people?
Honesty, loyalty and a sense of humor. And close behind these three are creativity and intelligence. Don't want much, do I?

If you could only see black and white except for one color, what color would you choose to see?
Lilac is my favorite color and I love many shades of pink. But I'd choose green in all it's variations, if I could see just one.  Perpetual spring.  But everything pales next to reality.  Glad that I can see them all.

You have a 10 minute speech to give at a high school, what is it about?

Accepting and appreciating yourself. Don't waste time trying to imitate others.Don't focus on "fixing" them either. Embrace your passions and find some humor in your flaws.You'll enjoy life more. And so will the people around you.

Check out Manic Monday for more answers to these questions. Or join in the fun and add your own answers

Lend Me Your Ears

Anyone who has hung around the goulash pot for very long, knows that Grandma is an American Idol fan. But the show has raised a question for me. What do people hear?

Not the judges. Sometimes their critiques make me wonder if we've listened to the same performance, but I'm not talking about that.. Nor about the public vote, which sent Lacey Brown home, while providing Tim Urban another opportunity to impersonate Tiny Tim. It's the auditions that puzzle me.

Some of the participants can really sing. Some shouldn't give up their day jobs, but they're not all that hard on the ears. Some are outrageously bad and know it, happy with their few minutes of fame. And then there are those who are just as bad, but remain oblivious. They are genuinely surprised and frequently devastated, when they are turned away.

That's puzzling. Why do they perceive their sound as great, rather than grating? Surely they must hear something different. Is it the auditory ver…

Convictions - Installment #10

New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell “Come on, Annie, we'll be late.”

Jake Cantreaux straddled his motorcycle and prepared to yell again.

“Let him come to the door like a proper gentleman”, her mother admonished.

Annie flew out the door without a comment. Jake didn't need to be proper. He just needed to be there. He'd always dated the popular girls. Annie had never had a date. On the first day of their senior year, he'd entered the bookkeeping class and sat at the desk next to her's. He smiled at her, then winked. Nothing more. The second day was a repeat of the first. On the third, he asked her to join him for lunch. Annie did not say no. What girl would?

“Late for what?”

“Can't say. You'll have to wait and see.”

She hopped on and put her arms around his waist. Jake was always surprising her. He had from the start. He looked like a rich kid, but lived in a deteriorating bungalow with his alcoholic father. He worked for the clo…

Friday Skies #4

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The One That Got Away

On St. Patrick's Eve, my granddaughter made a leprechaun trap.
This is the fourth year she's tried and once again the little
guy has escaped, leaving a trail of gold glitter and green candy.
Undaunted, she has already begun planning a new and improved
trap for next year.

Her adventures have provided the inspiration for today's list.

Things that can be lost or hard to catch:

a break,
and as my granddaughter would tell you, a leprechaun.

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A Day For Green

For more pics, hop on over to Wordless Wednesday.

In Character

Since beginning Convictions, I've learned how easily characters take on a life of their own. Cassandra, for example, was never intended to appear in more than one chapter. I envisioned her as a pretty bad character, perhaps even running a drug operation from Redemption House. Turns out she's a bit naughty, but has a good heart.

There are a number of minor characters in the book. Some could be seen once and disappear. Some could be developed more. I thought it would be fun to let readers give some input on a few of these characters. So I'm going to start posting a story character once a week and ask for your thoughts.

What, if anything, would you like to know about this character?

What type of person do you think they are?

What kind of interactions should they have with the main characters?

Today's character is Beth's parole officer, Jane Watkins. She has only appeared once – in Installment #7. Beth has weekly parole visits. Should we see more of O…

Grandma Tidbits #2

How did you decide to live where you do?

I moved south to Atlanta thirteen years ago. I was tired of cold weather and Atlanta seemed perfect. It has four distinct seasons, but much less of the cooler weather. The Olympics had spawned a lot of new technical jobs and employers competed to hire technically competent employees. It was the perfect combination. Last summer, we moved to Memphis. It's still a warm climate, with better air quality and a lower cost of living. We're enjoying the smaller city and a lot less traffic.

Do you like risks, or do you avoid them? What major risks have you taken in your life?
Depends on the type of risk.    You wouldn't catch me playing russian roulette or investing in high risk stocks.  I prefer a calculated risk where my own efforts will strongly influence the outcome.

 I've made three major relocations in my life, one as the single parent of a small child. It takes a fair amount of courage to pick up and move 400 miles away from family …


How difficult can it be to write a few words in a blog?  Most days, it's not difficult at all. But sometimes I struggle a bit.  Then there's today. I've struggled a lot.  And still nothing inspires me.  How can that happen  in a world filled with so many interesting things?  If I had any theories, I'd write them here and call it a day.  Alas, I have none.    I've hoped for a muse.  Where is she?  Perhaps tomorrow.  For now I remain un-a-mused.

Convictions - Installment #9

New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell
After supper, Beth had cleared the dining tables and filled the sink with glasses, letting them soak while she began her preparations for the next day. Grabbing a trash bag, she'd hurried to the storeroom where she identified and discarded the rotting potatoes. Returning to the kitchen, she'd removed the spoiled vegetables from the refrigerator and added them to the trash bag. She gave the interior a quick wipe. No time for anything more thorough, but it was an improvement Back in the storage room, she sorted the remaining potatoes by size. Larger ones could be baked for another meal. The smallest would become home fries for tomorrow's breakfast. She took them to the kitchen along with several large cans of chunk tuna.
. . .

Over the next two hours, she alternated between cleaning and food preparation, refusing to acknowledge the exhaustion that was threatening to overtake her. She had planned a breakfast o…

Friday Skies #3

Not eggs-actly what you were expecting? I've being working on an Easter Egg tutorial for a graphics group that I belong to. I played with some different ways of coloring eggs, including some sky photos. I like seeing these side-by-side. It certainly emphasizes the differences in blue skies.

Want to see more sky photos:

Spring Flaws

Longing for spring? You're not alone. It's easy to be lured by green grass and budding flowers. But spring has it's flaws. Thirteen of them by my count.

Spring lifts your spirits with blue skies and warm weather. Right before it buries you beneath a late snow storm or encases you in freezing rain.

Stop looking at those little green shoots for a minute and you'll see rotting leaves, broken twigs, and garbage from wind-capsized trash cans.

Spring brings rain and it's dear friend, mud. It won't take long before pets and children share this outside delight with your home's interior.

Spring is synonymous with spring cleaning. Grandma's not pretending that she participates in this ritual, but she certainly feels the guilty weight of avoiding it.

Grass begins a new growth spurt, weeds compete to dominate the yard, bushes need trimming and the garden must be prepared for planting. If it were winter, you could be reading a good book by a toasty fireplace.

Crib Envy

He climbed in to retrieve his ball. He barely made it and was too frightened to try and get out. We rescued him, but not before my daughter took this shot. Happily, he never tried it again.

For more pics, hop on over to Wordless Wednesday.

Outside the Box

We have a lot of boxes left from last summer's move to Memphis. Most of them have been disassembled and stored in the attic. Hopefully, they will not have to be retrieved any time soon. But some have been left available for other uses. My granddaughter is the largest consumer. She has cut, colored and pasted to create doll houses, cars and hideouts. It's not for lack of toys. At least a dozen crates of age appropriate toys can be found in her bedroom and play area. But the boxes remain a favorite.

The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY has inducted the cardboard box into it's National Toy Hall of Fame. The list of inductees heavily favors creative toys: Legos, marbles, the ball, the Hula Hoop, kites, teddy bears and Play-Doh join the box on this list.

It's a good argument for skipping many of the pricey electronic toys that are on the market today. A bit ironical that the cardboard box can be so instrumental in teaching a child to think outside the box!



The temperature soared into the seventies today. It looks like spring, but there may be some cold days ahead. Still the day held promise. Along with daffodils and forsythia, it's a sign that spring is almost here. Everything seemed more alive and the sound of children's voices rang throughout the neighborhood. And of all the signs, that one is my favorite.

Squeaky Clean

and posing for his picture.

Check out more great animal pics at Camera Critters

Convictions - Installment #8

New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell Beth hurried to the kitchen. She needed to make a plan and do it quickly. Hopefully, there was something that could be used for the evening meal. While cleaning, she had noticed that the kitchen held two double ovens, a gas range and two refrigerators with small freezing compartments. The freezers were empty. The refrigerators held several large blocks of hardening cheese and a generous supply of decomposing vegetables.

. . .
A small ice-maker sat in one corner and appeared to be in working order. A quick perusal of the cupboards revealed baking powder, baking soda and a generous supply of dried spices. Beth doubted that the previous cook had ever touched them. More likely, she had favored chocolate. Several small boxes of chocolate pudding and a half used box of chocolate drink mix were the only other foods that occupied the cupboards.

A small storeroom produced better results. The shelves on one side held restauran…

Friday Skies #2

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Three Plus Ten

Ever worked especially hard on a post and been rewarded with no comments? I've had more than one of those days and they sure can be discouraging. So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I received three blog awards in the space of two days. I'd like to acknowledge the bloggers who sent these awards and pass them on to ten new recipients. 'Cause three plus ten is ?

I'm not much into rules, regulations and fine print. But if you're interested, just click the award image to get more details.

Queen Bug has been a faithful supporter of my blog and in particular of my budding novel, Convictions. She has her own lovely blog, The Dysfunction of Motherhood. Her tales of everyday life with her two young daughters are very real and very captivating. Thanks for the One Lovely Blog Award, Queen Bug. I'll try to write the novel a little faster.

One Lovely Blog Recipients:

Dallas Miao'd Like an old recipe, it has a pinch of this and a tad of that. It&…